Creatine is thought to be the most effective sports supplement available on the market today. Creatine supplementation provides a variety of benefits to anyone that is physically active and it is particularly beneficial to those engaged in weight training. Creatine’s ability to aid recovery and increase lean muscle mass has been widely demonstrated by research. Creatine increases muscle volume, endurance, strength, power and performance, which combine to make it an effective supplement to improve performance in any athletic discipline or sporting event. Creatine supplementation works by helping to increase levels of creatine phosphate in the body, which boosts the primary energy source used by muscles during exercise (ATP). This enables harder and more effective training and, as a consequence, improves performance and gets results.
When should I take Creatine and how much do I need?
Creatine is one of the most effective supplements available for increasing muscle size and strength. Research demonstrates that consuming between 6-10 grams of creatine per day will achieve optimal results. Although there is currently no robust research to indicate timing of ingestion plays any role in supplementation benefits it is common practice to split this amount into two equal doses of between 3-5 grams of creatine. These are generally taken before and after workouts in combination with a pre and post workout whey protein shake on training days or with meals on non-training days.
Creatine: To load or not to load?
It is commonly suggested that at the outset of creatine supplementation an initial high dose period of between 3-5 days is required for anything up to 20 grams per day. This is referred to as a ‘loading phase.’ This is then followed by prolonged consumption of creatine at the reduced ‘maintenance’ dose. There is no evidence to support the need for creatine loading and for the majority of people 6-10 grams per day is sufficient to achieve maximal results without any preceding creatine loading.
How long does it take for Creatine to work?
Research suggests that to fully experience the maximal benefits of creatine supplementation, it will take approximately 3 weeks of consistently consuming between 6-10 grams per day on both training and non-training days.
Do I need to take anything else with Creatine?
It is widely suggested that creatine is more effective when taken in conjunction with insulin spiking carbohydrates (such as simple sugars). This concept is based upon the premise that the carbohydrates will speed up creatine absorption. However, research suggests that creatine absorbtion rate has little or no impact upon its effectiveness. As long as creatine is taken consistently, the body will have ample supplies to use during exercise and it is not necessary to be concerned with post-workout absorption rate or supplement timing. That said, research has demonstrated that taking creatine in combination with beta-alanine and whey protein enhances the effectiveness of these supplements.
Creatine Benefits Summary
- Creatine is the most effective and widely researched supplement available on the market today.
- Take 6-10 grams of creatine per day for at least three weeks to enjoy maximal benefit.
- Creatine timing has little or no bearing on its effectiveness.
- Creatine absorption rate has little or no bearing on its effectiveness.
- Daily creatine powder consumption gets results – consistency is key.
- Creatine’s results are enhanced when combined with Whey protein and Beta-Alanine supplementation.
For more information on creatine see our article Creatine: The Ultimate Guide To This Well Known Supplement